Thursday, March 20, 2014

Darin Ruf is hurt, most likely suspending the Darin Ruf Dilemma for a while

The Phillies were going to need to figure out a solution to their reserve outfielders, particularly when it came to a right-handed-hitting outfielder. The choices were unpopular John Mayberry Jr., who is signed to a $1.5 million deal, but capable of playing all three positions with relative competency, and Darin Ruf, who batted .247 with 14 homers in 293 plate appearances last season in his first extended big-league look, but whose outfield capabilities are limited to the corners and not exactly sparkling.

Well, scratch Ruf for a while. He strained an oblique taking batting practice cuts before the Phils' split-squad game in Kissimmee Thursday. That's an injury that cost Chase Utley a month last season.

Since the Phils expect to carry an extra bench player for a couple of weeks, Mayberry is a virtual lock. This also should give both Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn Jr. to coexist on the roster for a bit. If anyone was thinking about an out-of-the-box decision along the lines of Mikael Franco getting a couple of weeks in a big-league uniform, that's not going to happen. Perhaps if the Phils' top offensive prospect were tearing the cover off the ball this spring that could be something to consider, but that isn't the case.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting to know the leader in the clubhouse as Phillies' 5th starter

I wrote this story about Jeff Manship the other day. I'd make him the slight favorite in the battle to replace Cole Hamels in the rotation for April. David Buchanan & Mario
Hollands are in the mix, but probably hindered by their lack of big-league experience. Sean O'Sullivan is the other veteran who could push for the gig.

If it's Manship we will have all sorts of Jefferson Manship references at our disposal, which is nice.

Annnnnnd... Cole Hamels had a setback

   Cole Hamels, after a couple of strong bullpen sessions, was supposed to throw to hitters today. That didn't happen, and it had nothing to do with the rain in Clearwater.

   He had a setback. He insisted it wasn't the recurrence of the shoulder tendinitis this winter that required a cortisone shot and a suspension of his throwing and lifting programs. This, he said, was more of a fatigue issue.